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37th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Has Concluded

Assistive Technologies in the Hybrid Workplace

Date & Time
Friday, March 18, 2022 - 10:20 AM PST  
Grand GHJK  
The hybrid workplace is here to stay. A majority of workers have found they like the option of working from home at least some of the time. While Assistive Technologies (AT) is primarily serves its customers in person, we have all had to transfer our expertise to virtual environments. After 18 months, many have found new skills and honed those to provide a high level of AT service. We have even added to our skillset as we have encountered situations that could not have been dreamed of as little as two years ago. This presentation demonstrates how the Global AT program within Ernst & Young (EY) has adapted its services over the past 18 months in the hybrid workplace. EY is a Professional Services firm with over 330,000 team members across 150 countries. A centralized AT program can work with anyone, anywhere within the firm. The program began in 2016 and has developed global contacts so that anyone at EY can request assistance and begin work with the AT program within 24 hours. The core of the service is 1-1 live online meetings to speak with individuals regarding their AT needs and to team with in-country personnel to carry out unique AT projects. Like everybody, the AT program had to adapt to serving individuals in their home environment in early 2020. Whether it was assisting individuals who only had in-office accommodations or providing guidance to seasoned AT users who were forced to change their routine for the first time in decades, the AT program remained a constant during this time. Because of the reliance on working from home, the program expanded to offer virtual ergonomic analyses, increased its software offerings through a global ‘EY App Store’ and increased its networking with Human Resources, Legal, and Risk areas (all outside of IT – where AT is housed). Personal stories (names will be changed) will make up the bulk of this presentation to reinforce how AT has benefitted the EY workforce over the last 18 months. The hypothesis is that audience members will be experiencing similar situations and that ‘lived’ user stories will help them relate to AT and how it can benefit any organization. How does one provide virtual assistance for someone who is profoundly deaf and now much rely on a virtual teletypist (when one was always physically present in the office to assist)? When employees are relying on ironing boards or milk crates as makeshift desks (and their body is now in excruciating pain), how did AT step in to help? How did AT balance the individual needs of a customer in Norway who was seeking software to assist with dyslexia (and it had to be in Norwegian)? Even though the AT program is housed in Global IT, half of the team’s time is spent communicating with individuals outside that area. To provide individualized assistance, it is imperative to have contacts in Human Resources (called ‘Talent’ at EY) and Risk/Legal. There are some instances when technology solutions cannot provide a holistic solution. In these cases, the AT program primarily works with one’s Talent representative when ‘no tech’ solutions are needed. Over the last 18 months, the AT team has also built greater ties in the DE&I area (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) to advance ‘Accessibility’ , whether it’s for high-tech, low-tech, or no-tech solutions.  
  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Government
  • Finance & Banking
  • Research & Development
  • Employment & Human Resources
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
Assistive Technology (AT) at Ernst & Young (EY) adapted to the Covid environment by expanding into virtual ergonomic analyses & increased its self-service software options via a global ‘EY App Store’. This session will provide personal stories (names changed) reflecting these adaptations.  
Session Type
General Track  
  • Employment & Workplace


  • Kevin Grogg
    Ernst & Young (EY)

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